Corruption in American Politics is Nothing New

Americans were shocked by the boldness of the graft and other crimes allegedly committed by indicted former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich and by the 20-plus politicians and others indicted for corruption in New Jersey recently. But corruption is nothing new in American politics, although the scope and definitions of corruption have changed over time.  This piece, which features Harvard University (and New Yorker Magazine writer) Jill Lepore and others, takes the long view.


Posted in Americana, History Tags: , , , , , ,

Profiles of People with Disabilities (Berkeley CA)

Americans with disabilities are, in one sense, just like everybody else: they come from varied backgrounds, and cope with the challenges life presents them in many different ways. But living a full, satisfying life with a physical or mental handicap is no ordinary struggle.  Adam spoke with several people living with disabilities in the San Francisco area, and learned a few of their remarkable stories.


Posted in Health, Profile, Science, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , ,

Mother’s Day: Mothering in the Non-Human World

Mother’s Day in America is a special day set aside for honoring mothers, and celebrating all those qualities and actions that make mother “Mom.” But animals and even plants have also evolved their own dizzyingly diverse maternal styles over the millennia, all of which serve to make sure the next generation thrives. Adam interviewed a leading evolutionary biologist and a zoologist about some of those strategies.


Posted in Holidays-Season Specific, Science, Women

Profile: Maxine Greene – Educator, Philosopher, Humanist (VOA 2009)

Professor Maxine Greene of Teachers College, Columbia University, 91, has spent her educating and inspiring educators, artists and children in humanistic “wide-awakedness” and the social imagination.  Now 91, Maxine  has also been Philosopher-in-Residence at the Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education since 1975. She just received a Gold Medal from Barnarnd College.  Maxine grew up with my mother in Brooklyn, and was a frequent dinner guest at our home on East 70th Street.


Posted in Arts, Books, Profile, Science, Women Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How Dost Thou Love Me? – Everyday Americans Talk About What Makes Them Feel Cherished

For some people, Valentine's Day is a time be sentimentalValentine’s Day is usually associated in the public mind with candy and lots of pink hearts. But beneath the fun and frippery lies a core human need — to feel loved, cherished and cared for by one’s romantic partner. I spoke with a random sampling of happily-bonded everyday Americans about the things that make their hearts feel full.


Posted in Americana, Holidays-Season Specific, Person on the Street Interviews, Spirituality Tags: , , , ,

Woodstock (somewhat groovily) Remembered Forty Years Later

trippy girlForty years after Woodstock, the iconic music festival still looms large in the public mind as the high point — or, some say, the death knell — of America’s 1960s’ counterculture. What was it like to be there for “veteran” audience members and performers, and what is the legacy of this unique cultural happening?   Adam went tripping for some answers.


Posted in Americana, History, Music, Spirituality Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Meaning of Gratitude: Everyday Americans Reflect

For most Americans, the Thanksgiving feast means a traditional turkey feast with family and friends, and a moment’s pause to feel and express gratitude for the gifts life has given them, even during tough times. I took to the streets of New York to talk to people about what they are grateful for, and why.


Posted in Americana, Holidays-Season Specific, New York, Person on the Street Interviews, Spirituality Tags: , , , ,

New (serious) Music for Toys

Avant-garde musical artists have always liked to stretch the limits of what traditional musical instruments can do. But some artists have gone even farther and explored the less orthodox music of familiar objects.  This story explores the experimental music written especially for toys as performed in a concert in hipster Brooklyn.  Features toy piano virtuouso Margaret Leng Tan, a balloon composer and instrumentalist, and Isabel Negron, among others.


Posted in Arts, Music Tags: , , , , , ,

Profile: Dave Isay, Audio Documentarian and “Storycorps” Founder

Meet David Isay, a humane and immensely talennted radio documentary maker and oral historian who has probably won every broadcasting award out there.  Isay has dedicated his career to celebrating the lives of everyday Americans by recording their stories, and chronicling the experiences of underdogs and colorful characters, many of them living outside the American cultural mainstream.  We meet him, and sample some of them, in this profile.

See also “Listening is an Act of Love” and “Storycorps” stories also in this blog.


Posted in Americana, History, Immigrants and Ethnic Life, Person on the Street Interviews, Profile Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Labor Day: Everyday Americans Reflect on the Meaning of Work

Labor Day in America is a day most Americans associate with a three day weekend and a farewell to summertime. However, this national holiday is also a time to honor workers and the central place their labor has in our lives. For this report, Adam asked a range of New Yorkers about what “work” means to them.


Posted in Americana, History, Holidays-Season Specific, New York, Person on the Street Interviews
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